World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel has ruled that
the US has failed to modify its legislation that unfairly
targets offshore gambling websites. The WTO said that
the US could only continue to block such websites if
its laws were equally applied to US firms that offer
off-track betting on horse racing.
the WTO has yet to give its final verdict on the case
and the US has the option to appeal against the ruling.
Online poker and other ''games of luck'' have proved popular
in the US, which is described as a very profitable market
for such gaming.
twin-island Caribbean states Antigua and Barbuda, where
a number of online gambling firms are based, had filed
an objection against US laws against online gaming before
Describing the US laws as "discriminatory trade
practices" Antigua''s finance minister Errol Cort
welcomed the latest WTO ruling saying that it vindicated
his country''s stand.
new ruling is the latest twist in a long-standing dispute,
with the WTO having ruled in favour of the US in 2005
against Antigua and Barbuda. The WTO had then said that
the US had a right to prevent offshore betting as a
means to protect public order and public morals.
US has increasingly come down on overseas-based gambling
websites to prevent them from targeting US citizens.
In October 2006 it bought in a law that made it illegal
for banks and credit card companies to settle payments
to online gambling websites.
has even arrested two owners of internet gambling sites
who were travelling through the US, one of whom, former
CEO of BetOnSportsis still under house arrest in St
Though the US maintains that it is only interested in
limiting gambling, overseas gamin firms claim that the
US move is is aimed
at removing foreign competition.
final ruling against the US would allow Antigua and
Barbuda to seek trade sanctions against America.